Category Archives: Technology

Reunions as an Oral History Source

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By Ryan O’Connor One of the defining countercultural phenomena of the 1970s was the back-to-the-land movement. During this period, tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of North Americans abandoned their urban dwellings for a rural lifestyle. This movement, which eschewed the postwar consumer culture, brought thousands of people “from away” to Prince Edward Island. Some stayed a few weeks;… Read more »

Exhibiting Race: The Power of Portraiture

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Is race something we wear on our faces? Does it lie our skin colour, place of origin, or ancestry? Is it tangible? Two online exhibits challenge these ideas. The White Australia Policy began in 1901. Years of xenophobia and racial tensions, caused by increasing immigration, labour disputes, and competition in the Australian goldfields, fostered the passing of the Immigration Restriction… Read more »

Was the Past a Happy Place?

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By Ian Milligan Was the past a happy place? Could we take a large array of information and learn whether there was an emotional content to it? I’ve been increasingly curious about how we can apply a host of tools that data miners are using on contemporary information to large repositories of historical information: could we learn something new from… Read more »

Illusionary Order: Cautionary Notes for Online Newspapers

By Ian Milligan Online digitized newspapers are great. If you have access (either through a free database or via a personal or library subscription), you can quickly find the information you need: a specific search for a last name might help you find ancestors, a search for a specific event can find historical context for it (i.e. the Christie Pits… Read more »

History vs. Geography and Sourcemap.com

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The interactive map above, produced by Leo Bonanni, the CEO of Sourcemap.com, demonstrates the impressive power of geographical analysis in the early 21st century. The map shows the supply chains for a typical laptop computer and provides a fascinating insight into the complicated mix of natural resources and manufacturing labour needed. It raises questions about the environmental and social consequences… Read more »

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Visualizing the Past

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I have recently been trying to figure out good ways of representing large amounts of historical information in a way that makes sense to everybody who might stumble across my work! I think that a good graphic has the ability to draw readers into what we do, letting us convey the scope, joy, or horror of history without needing to… Read more »

Revisiting Past Places: Google’s ‘Memories for the Future’ Project in Japan

Next month will mark one year since the people of Japan experienced a devastating series of natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami that hit parts of Japan on March 11, 2011, resulted in tremendous loss for the Japanese people. Many Japanese lost their lives while survivors lost homes, a sense of stability, and sense of place. Personal items and familiar… Read more »

Too Much Information: The Case for the Programming Historian

Depending on your vantage point, we have a looming opportunity – or a looming problem. Historical digital sources have reached a scale where they defy conventional analysis and now call out for computational analysis. The Internet Archive alone has 2.9 million texts, there are 2.6 million pages of historical newspapers archived at the Chronicling America site of the US Library… Read more »

Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Organization’s Social Media Presence

It is important to note that establishing a good social media policy is crucial before indulging in this exciting world of conversation and knowledge sharing. Most of the following points appear in the social media policy for Banting House. If you’re looking for a foundation, there are plenty social media policy templates online.

Bill C-309, Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identity during Riots and Unlawful Assemblies Act

My Conservative MP sent the following question to his constituents this week: “Debate has now begun on [Conservative] MP Blake Richards’ Private Members’ Bill C-309.  The Bill proposes creating a new criminal offence for those that wear ‘a mask or other disguise to conceal their identity without lawful excuse’ during a riot or unlawful assembly.  This Bill was crafted in… Read more »